House of the Elements

Neil Dusheiko Architects

House of the Elements is a radical remodelling of a Victorian terraced home, creating a spa-like retreat with a focus on bold spatial gestures and connections to nature.

The owners wanted a clear focus on wellbeing, while also incorporating inspiring spaces for socialising and everyday life. The client’s Sri Lankan heritage, and the work of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, informed much of the design approach – in particular the use of plants to create a green verdant environment full of visual interest and textures, and spaces that flow into each other to provide light, natural ventilation and views. Beyond the front reception room, however, original features dissolve and give way to an extraordinary transformation. The structure has been opened up, carving into the interior with full height voids and lightwells, and there are vistas through the house with balconies, landings and windows opening onto the void. From the open plan ground floor one can look up through the whole house, through one of several large rooflights that flood the house with daylight. A specially-commissioned artwork rises through the void, creating a play of light and shadow, while a green wall lining the enclosed side return fills the space with colour and textures. This is part of a wider design strategy that stimulates the senses through connections with natural materials such as timber (seen in the exposed structural timber frame, deep walnut bath and charred timber cladding), and polished plaster manufactured using natural biopolymers extracted from castor beans.